It sounds like something out a sci-fi film but, after 10 years of research, Harvard University researchers have discovered a way to make skin deepen in colour – and it doesn’t involve baking yourself in the sun or coating yourself in fake tan.
The breakthrough drug, applied as a cream, stimulates the cells which produce pigment, leaving the skin darkened for a few days. Although melanin pills have long been around, helping the skin tan and maintain the glow for longer, this new cream would work differently as no UV rays are required in order to make it work.
However this drug has only been tested on mice and samples of human skin30684-8?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS2211124717306848%3Fshowall%3Dtrue|target="_blank"|rel="nofollow"), so further clinical trials are needed to work out if it's actually safe for use. The controversial Melanotan II, an injectable drug which works in a similar way to this new cream, appeared promising when discovered more than a decade ago although it has since been found to cause horrible side effects including nausea, vomiting and darkening of potential skin cancerous moles. As such it was not approved for legal sale by the Therapeutic Goods Association so here's hoping this new cream gets the all-clear.
When you consider an estimated 14,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in Australia this year, and close to 2000 Aussies will die as a result of skin cancer, it’s a welcome discovery if it does become a reality and can curb people intentionally sun-baking.
Through further development, it's hoped the cream will also be able to protect against harmful UV rays, just like traditional sunscreens., Until that happens though, you can always embrace your natural skin colour or work your through your spray tan rewards card.